– Autumn/Winter 2017

Names and Places: The Cartographic Interventions of Hans Ragnar Mathisen

Jan-Erik Lundström

Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Sábmi (Sameland) med kun samiske stedsnavn (with only Sami place names), 1974–75, colour pencil on paper, 88 × 73cm. Courtesy the artist

In Gunnar Olsson’s magisterial, resourceful, lucid and breathtaking Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographic Reason (2007), the map glimmers and shines at the centre of human culture, as a tool and toil of the human imagination, as a key modality of human discourse, and as an instrument of knowledge and of power. Invoking Shakespeare’s poet in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, who ‘gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name’, Olsson outlines the pivotal elements of cartographic practices, the very tasks of maps: naming and locating.1 To offer proper names and spatial characterisation. And, thus, to articulate and link

  1. Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographic Reason, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007, p.116. See also pp.87–91, 115–21.

  2. The website of Hans Ragnar Mathisen, http://www.keviselie-hansragnarmathisen.net, is extensive and informative (last accessed on 20 July 2017).

  3. Following the new orthography for the North Sami language acceded in 1978, Sápmi is the term used to signify the land of the Sami people.

  4. See Denis Wood, The Power of Maps, New York: The Guilford Press, pp.58–60. See also http://www. petersmap.com/ (last accessed on 17 July 2017); and Mark Monmonier, Rhumb Lines and Map Wars:
    A Social History of the Mercator Projection
    , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

  5. See the back cover of Hammond Compact Peters World Atlas, Union, NJ: Hammond World Atlas
    Corporation, 2002.

  6. The Peters projection is also a cylindrical projection, but centered on the 45th meridian.

  7. Kjerstin Uhre, ‘Sápmi and the Fennoscandian Shield: On and Off the Map’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, vol.15, no.2, pp.81–92.

  8. See Sissel M. Bergh’s website: http://sisselmbergh.net/ (last accessed on 17 July 2017).

  9. For commentary and visuals, see Kuratorisk Aktion (ed.), TUPILAKOSAURUS: An Incomplete(able) Survey of Pia Arke’s Artistic Work and Research, Kuratorisk Aktion: Copenhagen, 2012, pp.134–37, 147–51 and 275, as well as essays by Carsten Juhl and Stefan Jonsson in the present issue of Afterall.